What are the options for getting rid of junk?

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It’s a good idea to declutter before moving house — especially if you’re downsizing. As well as saving valuable space in the moving van, which could lower the cost of your removals service, it’ll allow you to make the most of the space in your new home.

When you have a day free, get four big boxes and label them: sell, donate, upcycle, bin. You should then go through all your belongings and ask yourself if you really need to keep each item. If you haven’t used the item in a year, the answer is probably no. You can then categorise your unwanted items into the appropriate boxes.

Selling unwanted items

You should consider selling anything that’s in satisfactory condition, as long as you think it’ll be worth your time. If you only have a few low-value items, the effort that goes into selling will probably outweigh the money you’ll make.

Not sure what something’s worth? Have a look on eBay to see what similar items have sold for. If you have an antique, visit a specialist dealer for a valuation.

If you have a lot of low-value items, like old toys and clothes, it’s probably not worth selling one at a time. Your best bet is a car-boot sale, where you can sell lots of items at once. However, sellers are normally charged around £10 a car, and you’ll spend around a day on preparations and selling, so make sure it’ll be worth it.

For single items worth more than a few pounds, you might be better off selling them individually through eBay. To maximise your profits, keep an eye out for ‘No Insertion Fee’ weekends and other special offers. You should also optimise your listing by providing good-quality images and writing a detailed description. Keep an eye on fees and P&P costs to ensure selling is worth your while.

If you have larger items that will need to be collected, such as furniture, Gumtree is a good option, as it allows you to advertise locally for free.

Donating unwanted items

Any unwanted items in satisfactory condition that you don’t want to sell should be donated instead.

Most charity shops accept donations of clothing and bric-a-brac if you simply walk in with your items. You might also get charity collection bags through your letterbox, or collection bins at your local waste centre — just make sure to verify the charity registration number.

Charities including the British Heart Foundation, St Oswald’s and Sue Ryder offer a free collection service for donations of furniture and other large or heavy items.

You may also find a happy home for your item by giving it to a friend, or through a site like The Freecycle Network.

Repairing and upcycling unwanted items

Items that are broken or in poor condition can be saved from the skip with a bit of handiwork. You can then reuse the items yourself, or sell or donate them.

You can learn to perform basic repairs with YouTube tutorials and online resources, or by getting someone who knows their stuff to help you out. And it’s pretty easy to give tired-looking furniture a new lick of paint, some decorative paper or some unwanted fabric. Take a look around Pinterest for some upcycling inspiration.

Binning unwanted items

You should only bin items after exhausting every other option. And rather than throwing them straight into your wheelie bin, consider visiting your local waste collection centre to see if you can recycle them.

For more handy tips that will make moving home a breeze, take a look around our Moving Advice Centre.

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