Things that have gone this week – 8

Wow, just when I think I’m going to slow down with the declutter, it picks up again! As usual, I got carried away and forgot to photograph everything that went. Never-mind, that’s not important- it’s more important that these things are no longer part of my life and space. I sold 5 items of clothing on eBay and then I gave away lots of things (see list below). I have now almost hit £1,500 of items sold (totalling 109 items to date!)

Rather than sending our used carpet to landfill, we were lucky enough to find someone who wanted it via the Freecycle network. I would also have tried allotment owners and pet shelters, before landfilling it. We acquired horrible terracotta orange carpets in all our bedrooms when we moved in. It was a vile colour (in my opinion) and stained in places. However for someone, it proved better than having no flooring at all and I’m glad that it could be re-used. In turn, we re-used the beige carpet we removed from our lounge diner to carpet 2 of the 3 bedrooms, with a bit left over incase we ever want to do the porch or small toilet.

We also sent our used stamps to help a charity. It really is amazing what can be re-used. I found some leaf grabbers in the garage, that I’d picked up at a car boot for £1 a few years ago. Now we live in a house without trees, so it was time for someone else to use them. I was finally ready to admit that I was not going to teach myself anymore guitar than I had done 5 years ago and I let it go to someone else wanting to learn, via Freecycle. I freecycled  2 pairs of tights that were huge on me, to someone wanting to make a fancy dress outfit! I found an old picture that hadn’t been up on the walls for about 5 years which I freecycled. Finally, I also sent a free gift that came with my watch to someone who could use and enjoy it, after it had been stuffed down the side of a cupboard for a couple of years.

  1. Bustier
  2. Coast Party Dress
  3. Laura Ashley Gypsy Skirt
  4. Frock & Frill Beaded Top
  5. White Stuff Reversible Skirt
  6. Roll of carpet taken up from office
  7. Roll of carpet taken up from bedroom (Both rolls of carpet went to someone in need of carpet, via Freecycle)
  8. Leaf grabbers (Given away on Freecycle)
  9. A5 envelope of used stamps (Given away via Freecycle to help a charity)
  10. Free gift of 4 nail varnishes that came with a watch I bought a couple of years ago (given away on Freecycle)
  11. 2 pairs of black tights that were meant to be one size, but came up to my armpits!!! (Went to a man for a fancy dress costume!)
  12. Guitar & music book (Freecycled)
  13. Puffin picture (Freecycled)

Who knows what next week will hold? Why don’t you join me for Week 9 of my decluttering adventures.

Things that have gone this week – 5

Well, I was hoping a few more items would sell on eBay this week. But only 3 things have gone – a pair of shoes, a white blouse and a red dress. This pair marks the 12th pair of shoes I have gotten rid of! 12 pairs of shoes and I don’t even notice the difference. I still have more than 12 pairs, so a few more need to go!!!

Despite this, I have also recycled a whole lot of old papers and cards. Goodness knows why I was holding onto them! I had a Birthday card from 20 years ago amongst my selection. I am hoping to give away or donate some items too this week, either to charity shops or on Freecycle. I also traded in 14 books on www.webuybooks.co.uk which was a medium sized box worth. So there is definitely a little more space here!

Philanthropy – A Potent Motivator for Decluttering

It seems I have finally found my biggest motivator for decluttering – philanthropy. I guess it’s the most logical too. I have finally concluded that having items sat in my cupboards that I am not using, is preventing them from being used by someone else. Talk about wasteful! That is your most potent motivator, right there – for being Zero Waste and decluttering.

I don’t know if something has changed in me as well, but it’s like a pair of fresh eyes for me. I’ve got 2 pairs of sandals in my wardrobe, both were bought to go with a specific outfit to wear to a wedding. Neither the shoes or the outfits have been worn since! Let that be a lesson to me, never to buy something ‘just for a wedding’ again. Well, I’ve decided to donate them all. I’m sure plenty of people will be thrifty enough to use a charity shop for their one-time wedding purchase. That’s what I should do next time! Far better that someone wears that Bridesmaid dress, perhaps to their prom than it sits in m wardrobe forever. I am never going to be that slim again and besides, I have photos and my memories.

Another great motivator has been recognising that there are some things I am just not going to fix and therefore, it’s either time to throw out those items or Freecycle them on to someone who might like to fix them. There are a great deal of people out there, looking for a project. I had to admit that I was never going to glue those shoes back together, I had moved on. And that fridge magnet, no-one cares enough to glue that back together and it probably wasn’t going to last, even if I did! There are plenty of other fridge magnets on my fridge, but I felt attached to it as my parents had brought it back from holiday for me. Yes, I was ‘attached’ to a fridge magnet. Like I felt they would notice if I threw it out!

I am getting much better at putting unwanted gifts straight into the bag to go to a charity shop. I just don’t want to even have to deal with that kind of guilt anymore. What matters is that the person wanted to give you a gift and that you graciously accepted it. That doesn’t mean that you have to keep it. I often receive gifts that are duplicates of items I already own, so however thoughtful the gift-giver thinks they are being. I am sure they would rather someone use them, than they sit in my cupboard forever and a day. It’s also better for the planet if we use the things that have already been made, rather than storing them.

Over to you, what’s your biggest motivator for decluttering? I think big life events can also be a great initiator – especially if you are boxing everything up for a move (as we have done several times before), or preparing for a life change – like the arrival of a baby or an elderly parents coming to live with you. All these things mean that you need to clear some space and take some time to sort through your belongings with a more critical eye.

Swagbucks Valentine’s Day Collector’s Bills

One of my favourite things about using Swagbucks is that I can get rewards for searching the web, every day through their search engine. Every now and then they have “Collector’s Bills” worth bonus SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you’ve collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like John Lewis, T.K. Maxx, Starbucks, M&S and many more!

Here’s all the information for this week’s Valentine’s Day Collector’s Bills:

  • Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting on Monday 6th February until Friday 10th February
  • When you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either: 5 SB, 7 SB, 9 SB, 14 SB or 21 SB
  • When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger.
  • Collect all 5 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!

 

Keep searching til you find them all! I’ve got the 9 already 🙂

Make it Yourself- Drawstring Bags

I’m currently learning to sew- I’ve been using a mix of online tutorials and attending a sewing course. This has been a really good combination for me, as there are just some things I need to be shown. From not being able to sew – I’ve been able to make a pin cushion, make 2 pairs of lined curtains, make a simple top, a simple maxi skirt and 2 lots of bunting. I’m seriously impressed with what I’ve been able to make and I absolutely love it. I wish I’d learned when I was at school, but I was scared of how technical sewing machines seemed and teachers never have enough time to give one-to-one attention to build up your confidence. I stuck to cooking which I had more experience with, but I am learning now – almost 20 years later!

I am currently making some seat cushions for our dining chairs and making a net curtain! I will put up some more posts showing my efforts soon. But for now, here are some pictures of some drawstring bags I’ve been making. I am not going to put a whole tutorial here because I simply search for what I want to make online. I don’t think I’m quite at that level….yet…. although I am inventing my own method to recover my chair cushions, so that will be mine to share with you here very soon! Always have a read through first and make sure the method is something you feel comfortable with. I rejected a few, until I found the simplest one I could!

I got my material for free from Freecycle and I always save any old bits of ribbon that I get, so I just re-purposed this for the drawstring. So these are basically free – you can’t get better than that. They take 20-30 minutes to knock-up and are useful for SO many different things. I actually made these from an old scarf – hence the fancy tassel detail which I couldn’t bear to cut off! My top tips are to fold one side of your fabric to save yourself any unnecessary sewing and to zig-zag your edges (if you don’t have an overlocker) for additional strength.

I use these types of bags a lot at my local greengrocer to bring home my zero waste fruit and veg. What sort of things have your sewn? Any for zero waste purposes?

How to buy a brand new Siemen’s fridge/freezer for free!

OK, so this month has been killer for us financially. We are doing major renovations on our house – now these were planned and budgeted for. However, then we found out one of our pets has a terminal illness cue a small fortune in vet’s bills. The kind where they give you a quote and it ends up being double. Now I wouldn’t change anything because our pets are part of the family, but if I didn’t save money like it’s going out of fashion – we would not have been able to pull these kinds of sums out of a hat. So when on top of all of this, our fridge/freezer decided to say goodbye – we could have been turning to Freecycle or worse, trying to do without. Or I suppose actually, most people would just put it on a credit card and end up paying many times the item’s original price. I’m writing this post to show you exactly where a little bit of on-line earning can get you in just a few months. I bet I’m not the only one facing unexpected strains on their finances, or you might just want to avoid getting into debt over Christmas.

I was just able to buy this Siemen’s Fridge/Freezer from John Lewis for free! Yes, you read that correctly- FREE! (If you are reading this tomorrow 29/09/16 onwards, then unfortunately their great deal will have ended. But here is something similar on Amazon and you can save up Amazon vouchers from all of these sites towards your purchase).

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I want to show you something really tangible, more so than me just giving you the figures for what I earn online. Although, this fridge/freezer represents less than half of what I can earn online each month, just to give you an idea. But I’m not sharing this to boast, I’m sharing this because if I can do it – you can too! You can effectively give yourself a pay rise and make thousands of pounds every year, from the comfort of your sofa or bed!

The majority of my gift cards which were put towards this purchase came from Swagbucks, with a little from Pinecone, a little from a site called Valued Opinions (comment or message me if you want a referral link, as it must be sent to your email address) and 1 voucher from The Wise Society (comment of message me if you want to join up, if they ask for the name of your referrer and I will give you my name. I am not currently certain if they are taking new members). I will aim to write a little more about those last two survey sites ASAP. The small remainder was covered by sites like Newvistalive and Populuslive which pay in cash.

I was lucky enough to catch the last day of a deal offering a 3-year extended warranty for free, taking it to 5 years in total, free disposal of my old appliance (normally £9), £70 cashback which I was given instantly off the purchase price at the checkout and free delivery which is also standard on any item over £50. John Lewis comply with the UK Government’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations which came into force in 2007. This means that all recyclable elements of our old appliance will be recovered to make new consumer goods. I also love the fact that John Lewis offer eco delivery slots, so I was able to choose a time for delivery when they are already in my area – meaning that more fuel is saved. How very Zero Waste of me!

I am looking forward to receiving my fridge/freezer next week – not least because it will work, but it is an A++ rated appliance and should only cost about £22.50 per year to run. I don’t know what our current appliance rates at, but it’s around 10 years old and undoubtedly won’t be as efficient. I hope that this appliance lives a long life, as I hate the throw away and disposal nature of our society. We inherited our last appliance, so we didn’t have any choice, but it was a cheap brand not known for their longevity. Here’s hoping we have made a better choice. I know none of this makes our purchase ideal, but we are doing our best, along with having chosen an ethical retailer who is doing their best.

I hope this post encourages you to start using some of the methods I have mentioned recently. I will be posting about a lot more and although it seems overwhelming at first, just try to incorporate 1 at a time. Once you’ve built it into your daily routine, you can add another. Until it just becomes normal to check these sites in your spare time. I hope that by starting in the order I am listing them, you will get some good earners in place quickly and see the fruits of your labours. Please comment and let me know how you are getting on! I would love to hear how others are being helped by my posts. That’s all for now folks!

My top tips for minimising

Start small

Today I thought I’d share with you my top tips for minimising your stuff!

  1. Start with one small area- a bookshelf, a drawer, a cupboard
  2. Sell the good stuff on eBay. I try everything on there first! You’d be amazed at what sells and you’ll probably get the best price
  3. If you have really good stuff to sell, try your local freeads or Preloved
  4. Sell your books on Amazon Marketplace. It’s really easy to list items and you’ll generally get a good price. It even has this handy feature which shows you how much you’ll earn and how much you’ll pay in fees, before you list. I wish eBay had that feature!
  5. Join up to a group on Facebook and sell your niche items there. For example, I sold the vast majority of my degree books through a book sales site related to my profession. It was dead easy to do and best of all, there are no fees attached. You can take payments through Paypal (for which you will pay a small fee). Or if you’re local- why not arrange to collect/ drop- off?
  6. Join up to a local selling group- I found one near me on Yahoo Groups. I found it very easy and straightforward.
  7. Sell your books to a trade -in store. I use these as a last resort because the prices won’t be as good, as if you sell the book yourself. Try several and check around for the best price. I recommend; www.webuybooks.co.uk           www.zapper.co.uk www.amazon.co.uk/Trade-In        www.fatbrain.co.uk    www.musicmagpie.co.uk
  8. Do a car boot sale. Google your nearest one. In my experience the biggest isn’t always the best- as you have too much competition. Go as a  buyer first, to check it out. Compare fees, as some are really expensive!
  9. Give stuff back to its owners! You’d be amazed just how much stuff I had around- mostly books and DVDs that belonged to other people
  10. Freecycle it! Search for a group local to you, list your item with a short description and wait for the offers of collection to roll in! Beware, choose your buyers carefully- some are trying to make a quick profit by selling your item on and abusing your kindness. Some will ask for it and never turn up, wasting your time! Don’t be put off though- there are some great Freecyclers out there. There are other similar sites- like Freegle. Find the one that’s right for you
  11. Donate it- bag it up and take it to a charity shop, or fill a charity bag and leave it on the curb (I don’t like these schemes, as there are so many non-genuine ones out there!) Or dump it in one of those recycling type, charity banks (especially good for clothes or shoes)
  12. Donate all sorts of items to a local re-claim scheme for people on a  low-income. They usually like furniture and appliances. But can take smaller stuff, like pictures, mirrors and cans of paint
  13. Some libraries take puzzles and allow people to swap them there
  14. Look out for opportunities in your local area. My local Homebase has a thriving book swapping section. They also carry free DIY items and plants/ seeds. Maybe your item could be used as a prop in the school play? Maybe your local Drs surgery would really appreciate that stack of magazines?

Share your tops tips with me now!