The Big Clear Out.

After last Sundays pondering of the “big decision” and my (clumsy) adventures in the O’Shea loft that led to the whole recycle-your-wedding-paraphernalia-right-here phenomenon, I decided further significant changes were required.

For starters I have too much stuff.

I am a 100% bone-fide hoarder, I don’t like throwing things away, especially if I once really loved it/it was expensive/it reminds me of this great time in XXX.

Now I am at the stage where there is no room. Like no room. For anything. I am physically unable to jam one more lipstick into my dresser draw, cram yet another cute cardi in my closet, shove another shoe under the sideboard.

And it’s not because I am some kind of a shopoholic*

It’s because you can’t possibly keep adding new stuff without taking some of the old stuff away….. Right?

Here lies the problem then. I can’t.

Normally the one to rise to pretty much any challenge it turns out this task of starting “afresh” is proving to be just too difficult for Mrs O’Shea.

I started by using my “don’t bother unless you absolutely LOVE it” method (the same method I applied to planning W-day incidentally) which was all fine and dandy, until I realised I would in fact not be left with a fat lot of much at all. A hand full of make-up items, a few recent spring fashion purchases, a favourite coat, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 fitted blazers, several pairs of earrings, My Imac, my camera collection, um……some curling tongs?

To quote RMW’s Naomi…..Scary Biscuits.

However, the method of only throwing away things I haven’t looked at/worn/used in the last 12 months doesn’t really work either – that would pretty much leave me with the items listed above too.

So the question is lovelies, what do you do?

Do I just need to bite the bullet and get on with it? Perhaps it’s the right time to embrace minimalism and Feng Shui after all.

And once you have had the big clear out then what, do you throw things in the bin? put them on ebay? hot foot it to your local charity shop with the nicer more salable items?

Your advice would be much appreciated. Because at this present moment I can’t move for unnecessary life debris and that means I can’t ruddy find a thing.

Big Where Did I Put My Phone?! Love

Charlotte xxx

(*cringes at the fact this is most probably a great big whopping fib)

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

21 thoughts on “The Big Clear Out.

  1. Lord knows I’m crap.

    I have (in my Northern flat) one three door fitted wardrobe, a taller than me chest of drawers in my bedroom. Plus a wardrobe and a chest of drawers of makeup (my lipsticks NEEDS it’s own drawer) despite me never wearing said make-up.

    All mine.

    And it’s just work wear.

    Then in our London flat (his full time my weekend pad).

    Jeans and t shirt and shoe collections.

    Then at my parents house….

    More stuff.

    Oh the shame.

    But it’s GREAT because every so often I find something that I’ve not worn in ages and it’s like I have loads of NEW stuff. For free.

    So see, I’m a hoarder too. And so are my parents. Luckily I have for my wedding as a result of their hoarding…two antique radio’s, glass bottles and jars with shop style weighing scales from the day and a whole load of other collectables.

    So basically….hoarding is GOOD. You just need to buy a bigger house. Am sure Mr O’Shay will understand.

  2. I had a huge issue when making a big move to a new city, and just needed to get rid of stuff. We hired a van, and it was a case of “if it doesn’t all fit in the van, it gets left behind”. So I had to become ruthless and motivated (neither of which come easily to me!). I actually had a whole drawer of clothes left over from my last clear out, which I’d deemed as “might wear again” – I’d not even opened the drawer since then! So they promptly went in a bag to the charity shop. If you’ve not worn it in 6 months, it’s not worth having! (unless it’s a lovely evening dress, I just can’t bring myself to get rid!)

    Sadly, after only 3 months in the new house, I’ve hoarded a whole new bunch of crap!

  3. Oh I hate clearing out!!!

    I had a MASSIVE house sorting when I moved 3 years ago and I have found that having a less cluttered living space is very relaxing. Having fewer clothes means I can buy new stuff each season. And cleaning is a like a walk in the park with fewer “thing” to dust/trip over. So far I have managed to keep the house relatively free of “stuff” without losing any of my personality.

    But I couldn’t quite throw it all away as I am a sentimental sod. So it was moved to the attic. Easter project – OPERATION ATTIC ATTACK. I have teddies, school books and uniforms, fancy dress costumes, art projects, formal dresses that went out of fashion at least 8 years ago, LOTS OF SHOES, a dresser that although it has no place in my current style of decoration I couldn’t just get rid of it (I spent hours distressing and painting the damn thing), I even have my very first sit on tricycle thing from when I was a kid. Half of it is utter crap – grubby and useless. That stuff will be going to the skip. I am keeping my notes and books and art projects, I spent too long doing them to just toss them away. But the rest of it – toys, clothes etc will be going to a charity shop. Someone else might as well benefit.

    It will be hard and incredibly stressful. But so worth it in the end. The memories are what is important. Stuff is just stuff. And if it has been in my attic for 3 years gathering dust it must not be that important to me really.

    Just in case I get emotional, I’m popping a bottle of wine in the fridge!

    Good luck Charlotte! Let the cleaning out commence!


  4. ..i too am a hoarder, in the past i have had ebay clothes sales only to regret it months/years later, you see i now never EVER apply the “haven’t worn it in 12 months” rule, because sometimes, 24 months later, i am in love with it again…

    i say hoard away, sometimes less isn’t more! the only solution i have had for shoe storage is to sell most of my old books on amazon…i’ve made quite a bit of money and now use the bookshelves as shoe storage, and shoes are much prettier than books anyway…

  5. Oh, I love a good clear out. I’m quite ruthless, I don’t have any fast rules. I’ve got an amazing Goonies T that I haven’t worn in ages, but I just *know* that when I throw it away, I’ll want to wear it. Stuff that does go, goes in the charity pile. It’s a lovely pay it forward feeling.

    While eBay is great, it’s such a faff (at least to me). The photo taking, the uploading, the waiting to see if it’s gone and the standing in the post office queue for what seems like 3 weeks.

    However, I have a whole heap of stuff that I bought in my youth that has a designer name sewn on to it somewhere and I think that this is the stuff that sells. So. I have written one day of my Easter eggstravaganza (sorry, couldn’t resist) to eBay hell.

    I then plan to buy lots of maxi skirts for the summer, filling up any space that I’ve cleared 🙂

    Linzi, can’t get rid of my books. So I have 10 boxes in the loft that I go to every now and then and find amazing books that I’d forgotten about.

    Happy Sunday Ladies!


  6. I have so many clothes that the boy and I had to turn the littlest room in our house into a walk-in wardobe where I was given 3/4 of the space and it still wasnt enough. Oops. Saying that though, I have been pondering my wardrobe these past few weeks and now feeling inspired have decided that like some above, Easter Weekend will be the start of my big clear out/tidy up.

    I think the 12 month rule can work, because some of the stuff I have bought in the past is sadly outdated and obviously so. I’m now better with my purchases and tend to lean towards the more “classic” stuff, so that it will last longer.

    Linzi – I am always told off for having too many shoes and never once considered using a bookshelf! Thats genius. The only flaw in the plan is that like Hollypockett, I love me books and couldnt bear to part with them.

    Right, am off to bask in the sunshine in the back garden.


  7. I hate getting rid of stuff because trends get recycled so often that I know I’ll want to wear stuff again! If, however, it has been damaged and can’t be repaired, out it goes. Anything that isn’t totally figure flattering – charity shop. Have never got my head round e-bay but do have some posh dresses that I probably won’t wear again and I think they would probably sell on there. I guess now is the perfect time to sell stuff like that when people are looking for wedding outfits.
    I must confess that I have a humungous wardrobe in my bedroom, plus 3 chests of drawers, drawer under the bed, and a double wardrobe in the spare room all full of my clothes. Am running out of space – my solution is to buy a bigger house!

  8. Last week i had a meltdown at the lack of space in my apartment. I have so many clothes i hang 3 dresses to a hanger, my bedside drawers are so jam packed i can hardly open them and every other bookcase seems to be overflowing. So i packed up about 8 boxes worth of stuff….and took it over to my parents haha. They wern’t pleased when they saw me coming up the drive!

  9. I partly wokr on the 12 month rule unless it’s the opposite season. Also the does it ACTUALLY FIT rule – I have thin clothes (that I’m never really thin enough to fit in) and fat clothes (that I have no intention of having to fit in again!) that I should really get rid of. is great fun for swapping things.
    Ebay used to be fun but is too big now.
    I hold swap parties every 6 months or so too – everyone brings at least 3 unwanted but nice items and see if anyone else wants them. Works well with chocolate and wine!

  10. I feel that clearing out pain!
    I am very much a minimalist though, my sisters and mum are the total opposite and hoard everything.
    However there are a few things that my minimalism does not affect…make up, anything beauty wise, hair stuff and bags/shoes/clothes. Ahem.So that will be nearly everything then.
    Not quite, with household stuff I am very tidy,organised minimalist. In an OCD way. And just because I have way too many things upstairs wise, it is still uber organised. Make up I normally sort out once a year as of expiry dates etc and donate it to my sis as she cares little for expiry dates and wouldnt dream of spending the fortune I do on all things cosmetic. But the shoes, the bags are worth a fortune as I have preciously collected them from being 22ish and so whilst prob not having 100’s of pairs the 20 or 30 that I do are all gorgeous designer ones that I could never part with I dont think. Clothes are a problem as because of yo-yo’ing fallin in love weight gain I have different sizes, so the ones that are 12’s and 14’s even though not been worn for 2 years + I am saving for that “yes I can get in these again” day which hopefully wont be too far off. All my bigger ones have been firmly going out as soon as deemed falling off me category.
    Your best bet is to decide what you really couldnt imagine living without and what you probably couldnt and what you can sort of and get rid of the latter. Charity,family members anyone who will appreciate will reap the rewards. I dont do Ebay mainly as I have no idea how to and it seems a bit faffy for me. My mum takes a lot of my old stuff (inc bedding,towels etc) for a “rag man” who donates the money made from weight of material to a childrens disability charity thing. Good deed done there then.
    My dream is after we are wed, to move into a bigger house…no not for the babies that everyone presumes will be coming, but for my own walk in wardrobe/dressing room room so I can have everything in one place and his wardrobe can breath easy as I wont be sneaking things in there as I run out of room.
    Wow big post alert, sorry. Its sunday and I am on coffee break at work and this was a welcome distraction from the sad things I am faced with today here. Good luck Charlote! Do it with some wine for sure! xx

  11. I too am a MASSIVE hoarder and a messy one at that. Ive taking over one of the bedrooms and that’s now full to the brim… I say we need a bigger house, but the boy says I need to be tidied first, so that’s a whole other debate!

    I am trying to be better and so I can make some wardrobe space, and I’ve come up with the two year rule… if I’ve not worn it in two years, it goes!

    What I’d like to know, is why can’t I always make educated fashion buys! I really should love everything before I buy it, but often I just can’t help it! Oops.


  12. I too am a massive horder and I still have masses of stuff at my parents! However, after recently finding out I’m pregnant 🙂 I have realised I really do need to declutter. I have started with the wardrobe and have got rid of anything which no longer fits ( I too have thin clothes I keep vowing I will fit into again). I’m hoping that by November the spare room will no longer be a junk room but a nursery!

    eBay is great but only really for designer stuff

    Good luck with the clear out!

  13. Hi Lovelies!

    Thanks so much for your advice and feedback, I have just returned from a erm….shopping trip (!) and literally have to do SOMETHING about the state of my full -to-the-brim-with-stuff abode.

    Katie – James says the same, “If we have a bigger house you will just fill it with even MORE stuff”

    I have to agree, he’s probably right.

    Right then you gorgeous lot, the bin bags are coming out!

    Charlotte xxx

  14. My name is Lucy and I am a horder and an Ebay addict.

    My shape has changed massively since I got married nearly two years ago, mostly due to having a baby a year ago.

    Pre baby I had had fairly consistently been a size 12/14 and had lots of clothes that I got out every year with the change of the seasons. Post baby I was a size 18, with no clothes that fit and had almost no money (the only draw back of maternity leave). Not only could I not afford to invest in new clothes, at a time when you really need to feel good about yourself, it seemed a waste as I wanted to loose the weight.

    So I bought myself some basic bits and pieces to ‘get me through’ the first few weeks on Ebay and although I was going for the things at the cheaper end of the scale I was surprised at how much some pieces with the right title, ie. good brand, BNWT (brand new with tags), went for.

    I have dabbled in selling bits and pieces before. I even bought a dress for my brother’s wedding, days before the event, and sold it on (on Ebay) at a profit. Many of the sellers dispatch goods quicker than any commercial outlet! (This is key to good feedback and your long term success).

    Anyway before I returned to work, size 16, I cleared out my wardrobe. I didn’t discard everything that was size 12/14, I still hope to get there one day but I had to admit some of it was simply no longer my style or practical for my new lifestyle. I didn’t make a packet, and previously I would have taken it to the charity shop, but it did make a sizable contribution to my return to work clothes budget at a time when I was struggling.

    My top tips would be, use advanced completed searches to price it right (that includes weighing the item and getting a postage estimate from the Royal Mail website so you don’t underestimate this and loose money), take good photos (use a mannequin if possible), add loads of detail to the description; style, dimensions, fabric content, be friendly and helpful if someone contacts you with questions and post the goods ASAP.

  15. Oh Charlotte I had exactly the same dilemma when I moved not long ago. I took the drastic approach and somewhat regretted the comfort having those things in my wardrobe despite the fact they were never worn.

    What I have learnt though is that in some ways it was very liberating. I no longer hang on to everything I have ever owned and am now much more careful when I buy. It might result in fewer more expensive purchases but they are all items I love and could never part with, and I like to think it is the beginning of a lovely collection.

    So good luck Charlotte. Maybe do it in stages so you don’t get rid of too much in one go.


    PS I still use my parents house for storage for some of my collection though, but I like to think they would miss my things if I didn’t keep them there.

  16. I’m yet another hoarder. Recently for the first time I tried with selling on Ebay and ended up not selling my items and with £7 to pay in listing fees 🙁 Probably won’t try again, charity shop it is (and it makes me feel so GOOD too!!)

  17. Lucy – thanks so much for the tips! I will definitely have a go at ebay 🙂

    Lottie – I think you are right, it will be liberating – just need to get the courage to go for it!

    Anita – Some definitely going to charity shops too, I have a lovely one not to far from me where I buy books – lovely ladies work there.

    Charlotte xxx

  18. I am someone who loves a good clean out twice a year!

    If I don’t love it any more, is too worn, or will probably not wear again, then give to charity or throw out.

    the benefit is you get to get more goodies and I really focused on getting a wardrobe that I love and is quality over quantity.

  19. Funnily enough this is exactly what I was doing yesterday, in the pursuit of clearing out stuff to make room for the baby’s nursery in the study, I’ve taken it one step further and decided to declutter the WHOLE house, oh boy what a task that’s been over the last month and I sometimes wish had never started the damn thing!

    However, I’ve worked through the storage cupboards, the study, living room, dining room (how many tea light holders does one need my friend asked when she saw how many I had…oops!), kitchen, my make up boxes and now finally my clothes and shoes….I am a bit of a hoarder and get it from my parents (they are even worse than I am, Matt nearly choked when my mum showed him what was in their dining room cupboards and my dad still has shirts from 30 years ago so I was doomed from the start!!) but am trying to not hang on to everything!! I now have 6 large boxes of ‘stuff’, 3 boxes of books, various storage items and a big blue Ikea bag full of clothes and shoes in the halway ready for car boot sale this Sunday, eeekkk!!

    I’ve only done a couple before in my time and they are a bit manic but have made about £80 each time, but people do try and bargain you down to practically nothing so it’s quite tiresome but might be worth trying Charlotte? I’m also posting things for sale on Gumtree for my more expensive items (camera, tomtom ipod touch holder which bought by mistake) and then putting a few things on ebay the next time I get a ‘free listing weekend’ email (Anita – worth waiting for these so you don’t get charged for items that don’t sell – by the way you should be able to re-list them for free if they didn’t sell).

    It’s actually quite cathartic having a good old clear out and I do feel better for it, I just have to face facts that I’m not going to get into some of my old clothes that I wore 3 years ago so out they go!!

    Good luck everyone with your clear outs and Congrats Natasha on your baby news, I have 8 weeks to go, gulp!!


  20. PS anything that doesn’t sell is going to the Oxfam shop round the corner so at least I’m doing my good deed as well. 🙂

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