Clutter is claustrophobic. You don’t realise until you bin it just how much it’s been weighing on your mind – the burden of owning, dusting and not using it has been nagging away at your subconscious for ages and then, like an annoying background noise that suddenly stops, disposing of it brings an extraordinary sense of relief.
Add to that the exciting prospect of turning your loft space into fresh, bright living space, and the appeal of a new loft conversion is almost irresistible. I say ‘almost’ because clearing out your loft – the accumulated stuff of half a lifetime – can seem like just too much of a hassle. So, here are a few tips to make the breakthrough to an empty loft and freedom.
“I’ll keep it in the loft just in case”
At least half the problem is having the hoarder mentality. How often have you said “I’ll keep it just in case I need it?” The reality is that if you need it you’ll never be able to find it, and even if you were organised enough to put it in a labelled box and catalogue it you’ll probably forget you had it and go out and buy another one! Regular use is the only excuse for keeping something: set a maximum three year limit on stored items, then junk them!
“It has sentimental value”
So how often do you venture into your loft and take out your childhood pedal car or grandma’s old wedding dress and fondle it in a fit of nostalgia? Take the Truth Test and ask yourself what, in the event of a house fire, you’d grab and run with. Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Alright, you can keep the beribboned love letters and Cup Final football programmes, but that’s it, nothing else, OK?
“I wouldn’t know where to start”
Yes, clearing out your loft can feel like you’re taking on the Labours of Hercules, but the right mind set makes all the difference. Instead of thinking of it a one unsurmountable task, set yourself a series of smaller, reachable goals. Tell yourself you’re going to devote just three hours to the job today and do that and no more. Then repeat as necessary until the job is done. If you would prefer to attack your loft in one fell swoop, plan it as a fun event. Set aside a weekend, rope in family and friends and all pitch in together. You can round it off by sending out for takeaways and beers.
“What am I going to do with it all?”
Decisions, decisions! The easiest way to declutter your loft is to employ the Four Box method. Sort it all according to whether it’s (1) Rubbish, (2) to Give Away, (3) to Keep, or (4) to Relocate. Depending on the volume of stuff to be disposed of you might want to hire a skip or take a trip to the tip with (1); drop off (2) at the charity shops or put them on eBay; and find a new place in your home for (3) and (4). Alternatively you could call in a loft clearance company and have them handle the whole business for you!
Congratulations, you’ve now decluttered your loft and you can start planning what you’ll do with the extra loft space. For some inspiring ideas to get you started, see our blog Five top reasons for converting your loft.