Things that have gone – 21

It’s always amazes me what you can sell and sometimes you just need to be patient. This week I finally sold something which had been doing the rounds on eBay for more than a year! OK, OK, so I don’t recommend leaving it that long – better to take it to the charity shop and have rid of it.

I also sold some larger items on eBay, which I normally avoid because I think the higher postage costs will put people off. Actually by using a company called MyHermes, I have been able to send them for a reasonable price.

This week I have netted approx £100 and shifted several items. (Sorry don’t have pictures  of every item this week).

  1. Refurbished pram canopy
  2. Vintage jewellery box
  3. 2 piano sheet music books
  4. 2 jars homemade cranberry sauce (unwanted Christmas gifts, donated via Freecycle)
  5. Cassette tape storage box (Freecycled)
  6. Lampshade (Freecycled)
  7. DVD

 

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Things that have gone – 18!

Since my last decluttering post in September, I have let another 31 items go! I had some motivation, as we are expecting a baby and I just cannot keep so many clothing or personal items. I need to clear an entire room for another person!

I’ve let virtually all of my vintage clothing stash go and cleared an entire clothes rail. Alongside this, I’ve let go of other clothing items, craft items, make-up and the odd book or DVD.

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It’s probably not going to make the most exciting blog post if I list it all one-by-one. But, I’ve added another £569.14 back in the bank account. Bringing my overall total from decluttering in the last year to: £2377.17. Is there anything you could be turning out? I honestly don’t miss a thing!

Things that have Gone – 17

I’m back on the decluttering bandwagon again! Now that summer is over, it’s time to get my house in order again. I’ve always got more clothes to get rid of, I’ve admitted before that I have far too many. But this year, I have made a real and concerted effort to address this. A lot of my clothes are vintage items and although I love vintage clothes, I think it’s time to admit that most of the time they are just not as practical to wear. They tend to be the ones left hanging for months and years, and that just makes no sense. So, I am trying to downsize my collection. The other area of weakness in this house is the acquisition of DVDs. So we have resolved to try not to buy any more, without watching some of what we have.

In the last couple of weeks, I have sold 13 items on eBay.

 

  1. Jasper Conran Applique Cord Skirt
  2. Vintage Laura Ashley tea dress
  3. Vintage Laura Ashley gypsy skirt
  4. Underwear set
  5. John Rocha T-shirt
  6. Vintage Laura Ashley tea dress
  7. M&S leather skirt
  8. M&S cashmere cardigan
  9. Thor DVD
  10. Vintage Laura Ashley tea dress
  11. Maleficent DVD
  12. The Skeleton Twins DVD
  13. Phase Eight Sequinned T-shirt

I plan to get ruthless this time, I’m giving myself a deadline and if things don’t sell – then they’re going to the charity shop. I’m not keeping things going round and round on eBay for a year, before they sell. My space is more valuable!

Are you decluttering? If you care to share, then I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Things that have gone – 14

Well, I managed to get rid of some more items! Despite thinking that I wouldn’t. I filled another bag for charity – I finished reading a couple of books that had no trade in value. Likewise we watched a DVD that was worth 1p to trade-in, so better to let a charity take it. I had a picture frame that I’d been holding onto for 20 years +, planning to frame a tapestry I completed as a child. I gave away the mounts last week, so it was time for the frame to go. I didn’t even like it! It was dark wood and ugly.

I also traded in a corduroy shirt that was a bad buy from a charity shop because it was a colour I’d never wear, with ridiculous cuffs. I’ll put that one down to experience. Finally, I found some polystyrene Christmas trees I’d been intending to turn into Christmas decorations, by covering them in sequins. Well, I completed 1 and it took so long, I never got down to the rest. Almost 2 years later, I was ready to accept that I wasn’t going to complete the rest.

I also took 3 DVDs to CEX and traded them in, one was a box set. So that’s cleared some space under the TV. Then, I traded in 2 books I’d finished reading and netted myself just over £6 for them. Not bad when I only paid £1.75 for them in a charity shop! The minimising continues…

CEX- A second-hand/trade-in store

I don’t know if you’ve heard of CEX? I hadn’t until about 3 years ago, I think. CEX stands for Complete Entertainment Exchange. I thought it was about time I wrote about them, since I now mainly use them to trade in old DVDs as there is no minimum amount required and the payment is instant. That is if you trade-in, in-store. Please check out their website for online trade-ins because I’ve not used it.

We tend to treat CEX a bit like a library in our house, as they allow you to buy, sell and exchange technology products. According to their website, they have stores in the UK, Spain, USA, Ireland, India, Australia, Portugal, Netherlands, Mexico and Poland. So there might be one near you? We mainly use them for DVDs, but they will also take CDs in some larger stores. They also deal in computer games for various games consoles, mobile phones, computers and associated peripheries, laptops, iPods, iPads and more! I once traded in my old iPod with them and it was very straight-forward. They check all electrical items like that, so you get a ticket and leave it with them for 30 minutes or so- to protect them and the next person who comes along to buy your old stuff. Everything you buy comes with a 12-month warranty, so you’ve got additional peace of mind. You can choose to either receive cash or a voucher when trading-in. The voucher is worth more and valid for 1000 years! So you have plenty of time to spend it!!! You can even now choose to donate your money to charity- how fab is that.

I love the fact that one of the founding principles of CEX was to save the environment. They really got on board with zero waste about 20 year ago! They saw built-in obsolesce as a business opportunity as they recognised the need to recycle. Happily, they also saw that not everyone has the money (or has enough sense!) not to buy brand new and they thought that there would always be a market for these types of second-hand goods.

So you see, I think CEX is proof that second-hand, minimalism (i.e. don’t hold onto stuff that you no longer need) and zero waste really can change the world. They are also a really friendly place 🙂

P.S. I don’t work for them and they have not paid me to write this blog post!

3 months without a lounge

We’re coming to the end of 3 months without a lounge! No TV, no sofa or armchairs, no dining room table or chairs, no curtains, blinds, lamps- literally nothing! We emptied our lounge to carry out renovations and it’s been an interesting lesson in what we can do without.

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We’ve been sitting on the bed, instead of in arm chairs or in the summer months- we would use picnic chairs in the garden. Whilst the picnic chairs were lovely on hot days- it’s not so much fun now it’s cold. Also after a while, they get really uncomfortable. The thing we both want back most of all is our 3 piece suite! Secondly, the dining room table was also missed greatly- it’s so important for conversations, good digestion and just a more pleasant meal occasion, including entertaining. It also proves useful for any other task you want to complete- like sewing, drawing or just spreading a large book open.

We’ve been using on-demand internet streaming to watch the occasional hour of TV and our laptops to watch the odd DVD. In a lot of ways we haven’t missed the TV, my other half hardly watched it anyway whereas I definitely watched it too much. I often put it on for company when I was in the house on my own all day. I thought I’d missed it quite a bit and then I turned it on again. Within 15 minutes I couldn’t take it’s blaring, loud and flashy programmes. Everything seems so fast-paced and over-the-top and I turned it off. I’ve much preferred the more thoughtful, intellectual and gentle content of Radio 4. It does make you realise how much they’ve dumbed down television and even on the BBC, it’s purely about entertainment no matter what the content. All that said, I think that I will want to watch some carefully chosen programmes on it and the occasional film. Time will tell if this is the case and whether we keep it longer term.

I think we own too many DVDs, given how infrequently we watch them and (thankfully) our cheap DVD tower hasn’t stood up to being stored in the garage and is splitting in the middle. That is not coming back in the room and so the DVD collection will have to be further downsized! (No, I promise I did not take a hammer to it!) A quick scan on the WeBuyBooks app uncovers that we have £200-£300 worth of DVDs sitting around our house! No doubt we will be selling and trading some in very soon.

We think that we are going to return our bookcase to the lounge, as I feel that there have been occasions when I have wanted a book and have been disappointed that it’s been packed away in a box (boxes!) However, we both think the bookcase is ugly and so I think we’d both secretly like it to go. My other half thinks I have too many unread books (it’s true!) and so, I am doubtful that most of these will be returning to our space either.

My one indulgence has been a china cabinet, as my other half points out – it serves only to display china – not minimalist at all! However, it is a piece of Art Deco beauty and I can’t believe I found it in a charity shop. I will use it to display some of our everyday crockery which is Portmierion Crazy Daisy and very beautiful. I will never tire of looking at it and I have never regretted putting a high quality dinner service on our wedding list. It is something that will last a lifetime and always look good.

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We had inherited a dining table from family and it had a wonky leg, we both hated it because it was ridiculously large (seated 8 which we rarely need). It had these 2 additional leaves, but because they didn’t fold under they had these great big pieces of wood sticking out and were a nightmare to store. So we ended up having to have the whole thing out all the time. We took the opportunity to get rid of that and bought a much more sensibly sized drop-leaf table from eBay. It’s a really minimalist piece of design by Ercol known as the plank table (although ours has dropped leaves at each end). I think it’s an utter design classic and will never date due to its simplicity. Alongside this, an extended family member died and we were offered the opportunity to purchase any furniture we would like. We were fortunate to find that they had 2 blonde wood Ercol Goldsmith Carver chairs (like these) to go with our table and I had also picked up another Ercol Hoop-Backed blonde wood chair for £2 at a jumble sale! Here it is after rubbing it down, it was splattered with paint but it’s looking fine now. I just need to finish it with something to protect the beautiful wood.

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Ideally, we’d like to find a 4th Ercol chair to complete our mismatched set. They are as solid as the day they were made in the 1950s (you can date them by their labels) and should last forever. Again, I don’t think they will ever date and this mid-century design is becoming the modern antique (hugely sought after).

Finally, we opted to get rid of the carpet which with cats was constantly getting ruined in various ways! After much thought, we decided to install real Oak parquet flooring. We could have spent half as much on a ‘plastic’ carpet which was not something we wanted to do. We could have spent the same amount on a wool carpet but in 10-15 years, it would probably have needed replacing. Instead, we opted for this beautiful hardwood flooring which is an art form in itself. It will certainly outlive us – the estimated lifespan is 150 years. We did look at installing second-hand parquet but there are many reasons (just search the net) why we felt this was not the answer for us. It is so lovely to look at and it looks different at different times of day, as the light changes which is much more interesting the flat, matte carpet. Now we have endured the disruption of renovating and putting this room back together, we will never have to worry about flooring again except for re-finishing in about 30 years time. The only other thing that will need refreshing every 10-15 years is the paintwork.

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I will be posting some before and after pictures soon, just as soon as we are able to return all the furniture to the room. I don’t want to give it all away just yet! Have you ever had the opportunity to ‘lose’ a room like this? Did it spur you into minimising? Do share your stories in the comments.