Be mean and keep it clean

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION - AN­DREW WIN­TER An­drew Win­ter hosts Sell­ing Houses Aus­tralia on Life­style

LET’S talk clutter. Yes, that word that fills many of us with dread. Surely we couldn’t pos­si­ble have any of “that” in our homes?

Aunty Dei­dre’s place is full of it and Grandpa’s shed seems to man­u­fac­ture its own on a con­stant ba­sis.

There are many — I know I’ve been in their homes — that man­age to live lit­er­ally clutter free, with min­i­mal ex­cess, lit­tle sen­ti­men­tal­ity and ac­tu­ally have cup­boards and draw­ers so beau­ti­fully sorted with con­tents all known and reg­u­larly used.

Th­ese peo­ple know where ev­ery­thing is and don’t seem to have homes over­flow­ing with con­tents that the rest of us ei­ther can’t dis­pose of or be­lieve have an eter­nal pur­pose and must be re­tained.

I like to be­lieve I’m one of those per­fectly pre­sented, or­gan­ised, clutter-free in­di­vid­u­als. Alas, this is not the case.

The ex­treme cases of clutter col­lec­tors are clas­si­fied as hoard­ers (that’s an­other topic all to­gether) but for many there can be a tiny hoard­ing ten­dency that we just man­age to con­trol.

I’m no ex­pert in this field but over the years af­ter vis­it­ing so many houses I’ve seen plenty of ex­am­ples of the less-thanper­fect home, even clut­tered hell in a hoard­ing hovel, but at what point does a lit­tle mess evolve in to hoard­ing?

Liv­ing in our fam­ily of four fe­males, plus me and two dogs, while for much of the time the home ap­pears to im­pec­ca­ble, just open cup­boards, look into draw­ers, maybe a sneak peak un­der the bed or catch us at the end of a hec­tic week and utopia looks more like house­hold hell.

But how much of this ex­cess really needs to be re­tained, let alone be stored as op­posed to be­ing re­moved?

Not­ing that keep­ing this clutter un­der con­trol when sale time comes around, you will be ready to go.

So here are my few tips for keep­ing those pos­ses­sions in bal­ance.

• If you have items that have not seen the light of day for the past year and have no day-to­day pur­pose any­more, it’s time to let go.

• Re­tain­ing re­dun­dant ap­pli­ances, an­cient com­put­ers, and tele­vi­sions the size of a stu­dio apart­ment are signs your clutter pas­sion maybe head­ing to­wards hoard­ing.

• Blitz your be­long­ings, cre­ate the re­tain pile, sort the real rub­bish and dis­pose, then a char­ity/do­nate pile. • Be strong and fo­cused. The kids’ art, presents you dis­like but came from some­one spe­cial, the items you used to adore but are now su­per­seded or just out of fash­ion, yes you can get rid of them, but maybe take a pic­ture first to help you let go.

• Never dou­ble up — of­ten in our homes of ex­cess we have a sec­ond or spare of some­thing, so sell them or give them away

• Don’t forget some items can be re­cy­cled, char­i­ties are not so fussy on the taste and style of items but are not go­ing to be able to use the bro­ken/dam­aged/dan­ger­ous or filthy dirty.

• Nu­mer­ous web­sites al­low you to sell any of the pos­ses­sions you be­lieve have some value. Be re­al­is­tic with your value expectations and re­mem­ber if you have large items and you sell them, buy­ers will col­lect and you don’t have to worry about trans­port.

Do I prac­tise what I preach?

As our fam­ily has al­ways been se­rial house movers, clutter never has had a chance to build up. How­ever, we have been liv­ing in our present home for a Win­ter fam­ily record of five years and yes clutter is be­gin­ning to creep up on us.

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